Written Answers. - Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Michael Bell

Question:

123 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the plans under way in his Department to fulfil the PPF commitment to remove poverty traps for low paid workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20494/00]

Considerable progress has been made in recent years in reducing the incidence and effects of poverty and unemployment traps in the social welfare system.

Amongst the measures which have contributed to this improvement are: the continued increase in child benefit as part of a strategy of making child income support more neutralvis-à-vis the employment status of the parents; the introduction of net income assessment for the purposes of determining entitlement to family income supplement; the introduction of a more tapered qualified adult allowance, providing for a more gradual reduction in the payment when the spouse or partner of a social welfare claimant takes up work or gets a pay increase; the continued enhancement of the back-to-work allowance scheme and the back to education programme operated by my Department; and a more tapered withdrawal of supplementary welfare allowance rent or mortgage supplements.
On a general level, my Department constantly monitors the operation of its schemes with a view to ensuring that poverty traps and disincentives are removed. I am determined to continue to work towards ensuring that the welfare system does not create poverty traps, and minimising such traps where they exist. It must be recognised, however, that the substantial progress in recent years has very much reduced problems in this area.